Sunday, 18 July 2010

Qu’on cailler

When I worked at French Living we used to get free catering magazines and catalogues delivered. The pages would be peppered with ready to thaw "bakery" monstrosities and questionable bulk finger foods alongside a lousy feature on a particularly unremarkable wine producer. Regularly we would pick through these publications for our own amusement (not for stock ordering) and a full page feature that stuck in my mind after all these years was one for a long life cream substitute. 
I still am in awe of Chef Jeremy's ability; showcased when he would consistently serve up the perfect Bearnaise sauce to accompany the Steak Haché. His amalgamation of perfectly balanced vinegary acidity with the shallots, herbs and finished with cream is a work of art. A true chef has key indicators of high skill and one of these is sauces. Ingredients with acidic properties like wine, lemon juice and vinegars are often used in the making of a good sauce when deglazing the pan before the introduction of further ingredients like finishing with temperamental cream. The acidic ingredients and the heat of the pan can cause the cream to curdle or split on contact but with the chef's understanding of the temperature of the mixture and with vigorous whisking or stirring this can be avoided. The advertised long life cream substitute promises never to curdle, senselessly negating the need for an experienced professional when a delicate sauce is required. I wonder what oddities they have added to what was once a dairy product to achieve such a statement. What's the point? Where's the fun? 

Sometimes, I think it might be nice for everything to be so fool proof. Perhaps I need a long life substitute for my own advances so that when my affections are directed towards another this does not push the relationship to curdle. But where would the thrill be in that, what is a life without heartache and bad decisions?
He's looking to be mentioned here in great detail, but as I am learning to improve the standard of my sauces I am trying to learn how not to split a romance. The wrong question posed at a delicate time, or the right question added too eagerly can easily upset the balance, perhaps I've taken my eye off the whole thing, perhaps I'm whisking at something at too great a distance.

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